MARQUETTE - Nancy Uschold and Mike Stoolmiller were married on July 9 in a ceremony at Presque Isle Park, just a stone's throw from their home along Lakeshore Boulevard.
The ceremony and the reception were as much a celebration of local food and products as a celebration of the couple.
"We planned the menu so we could use local foods," Uschold said.
Planning a wedding around local food and products means working with what’s available, as Nancy Uschold and Mike Stoolmiller did at their July wedding. Above, the couple toasts with the Michigan wine that was served at the wedding. (Photo by Michael Uschold)
Working with TLC Catering, Uschold and Stoolmiller decided to use what they could get locally to make up their menu, including strawberries picked the day before the ceremony in Trenary, fresh fish from Thill's, meat from Seeds and Spores Family Farm, right up to the Michigan-brewed wine and beer served. Fruits and vegetables that couldn't be found locally were obtained through outlets like Farmer Q's, such as cherries from downstate, used to make a cherries jubilee instead of a traditional cake for dessert, and cheese from Wisconsin.
"For the food, it's been something we've both been trying to do anyway," Uschold said of the couple's decision to go local for the wedding. "I think everybody's been growing in awareness of the benefits of supporting local business."
Instead of requesting more exotic fruits and vegetables, like mangos, at the reception, the couple started with what they knew would be available.
"We knew strawberries would be in season," Uschold said. "What's in season at that time and how can we build off of that.
"If you want to have fresh food, you have to support the people who are growing it now."
"I'm not sure people appreciate that Michigan has world-class beer," Stoolmiller added, laughing.
Their search for local food also connected the couple with other local aspects of their wedding.
"A lot of what we got was from people who are vendors at the (Marquette) farmers market," Uschold said.
"The farmers market is turning out to be a nice way to encourage local business to develop," Stoolmiller said.
The couple had a local artist create their wedding rings, designed to include the waves of Lake Superior in different types of metal. Uschold's dress was created by a local seamstress. Prayer flags used during the Presque Isle ceremony were also created locally.
Of course, locally-grown flowers were used in the bouquets and flower arrangements.
For those interested in creating their own local events, Uschold and Stoolmiller suggested working with a caterer or restaurant that is open to using local products and planning the menu around what is available.
"We had really fresh, good food," Uschold said. "You can't get any fresher than berries picked the day before."
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.